Hosting Thanksgiving dinner is a gift you give to your loved ones, but it can also take a toll on your family and your mood. Here's a quick survival guide to help you make the most of your holiday meal!
Have you ever been at someone else's home and asked to help prepare the food or clear the table? You may have offered out of obligation or even because you weren't sure what to do while you waited. As host, graciously accept these offers. Out of working together, you'll find new conversation and bond over preparations. Plus, you'll give your kind guest an important role in the evening's events.
Plan Your Table
Set the table the evening before your guests arrive. It will save you time and stress on Thanksgiving Day. You may even want to think about where certain guests should sit to make conversation flow more smoothly. If your style is more formal, make sure that the table linens are wrinkle free and dinnerware has been polished. If you're going for a buffet set-up, clean off countertops and leave the space available, even during dinner prep.
Ask Guests To Contribute
Chances are, when you invited your guests, they asked if they could bring something along. Accept the offer, even if it's as simple as asking them to pick up a bottle of wine. Most people do want to help and contribute to the meal.
Consider Dietary Restrictions
Ask your guests if they have any restrictions or if they are allergic to things like gluten or lactose. You don't have to upend the entire meal for one person, but make sure there are options for your guests. Stumped? Purchase or find a recipe for a gluten and dairy free pie crust, or make your mashed potatoes with soy milk and butter on the side.
Prepare For Children
If your guests plan to bring children, take their ages into consideration when preparing your dinner. Purchase plastic or disposable plates and cups for them to use, a child-safe area for them to play in, and stream a movie so they're occupied while the adults talk.
Guide The Conversation
Unless all of your guests are on the same page politically and religiously, you may want to steer the conversation toward topics where you can all find common ground. In our current political climate, some political discourse should be expected, but be ready to change the subject when needed. If your guests are not very familiar with each other, have facts and anecdotes on hand to bring the party together.
We can all tell when the host is on edge. Once dinner is ready, sit with your guests, talk, laugh, and enjoy your time together. Your guests would rather spend time with you than see you running around the kitchen, trying to get everything done on time.